Conversations about the future of physical and virtual public spaces, exhibitions investigating spirituality in contemporary art and ancient design, photography channeling archeology, a one-night light-projection festival downtown, a weeks-long art festival on billboards citywide, a self-guided soundwalk in the park, theater about post-incarceration life, a bicoastal anti-racism dance party, and an online show about social culture’s imminent new normal.
Thursday, April 8
Lecture: Uncommon Commons: Making Public Art Work at MOCA. The fifth and final in the museum’s series of discussions investigating the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites and the people that visit them turns its attention to public art’s impact on the community. A panel of experts consider how the works they’ve put into the public sphere have affected their communities, featuring artist Deborah Ascheim, DCA legend Felicia Filer, and 18th Street’s Sue Bell Yank. Thursday, April 8, 4pm; free w/ rsvp; moca.org.
Art Talk: From the Ground Up at the Armory. The Armory is one of 45 partners in Pacific Standard Time, the Getty’s announced 2024 region-wide exploration of the intersections between art and science. Their project, From the Ground Up: Nurturing Diversity in Hostile Environments, is a forward-looking ethnobotanical study. Tonight’s talk features six members of the arts-based research team: Enid Baxter Ryce, Sandra de la Loza, David Delgado Shorter, Sean Lahmeyer, Hillary Mushkin, and Sandy Rodriguez. Thursday, April 8, 6pm; free; rsvp required; armoryarts.org.
Friday, April 9
Otherwise/Revival at Bridge Projects. Otherwise/Revival is a group exhibition that visualizes the impact of the historic Black church — specifically the Black Pentecostal movement — on contemporary art. Sculptures, paintings, videos and performances celebrate the significance of music, praise, breath and community. Exhibited artists reflect on their traditions, heritages, passions, and talents to cultivate a space where art thrives and expresses a unifying language for all. Bridge Projects, 6820 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; open House Friday, April 9, 11am-6pm; performance by Angela Bryant 4-6pm; open by appointment through June 26; free; bridgeprojects.com.
Chiffon Thomas: Antithesis at Kohn Gallery. Thomas’ practice is interdisciplinary, utilizing hand-embroidered mixed media painting, collage, drawing, and sculpture. Identifying as a non-binary queer person of color, Thomas’ powerful figurative assemblages examine the difficulties faced by defining one’s identity in contemporary society. Through contorted figures and fractured compositions that float seamlessly between historical and contemporary styles and references, Thomas presents a process of becoming, a transition from dysmorphia to metamorphosis. Kohn Gallery, 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; open by appointment April 9 – May 21; free; kohngallery.com.
Classical: Beethoven’s Serioso at L.A. Chamber Orchestra. LACO’s Close Quarters series continues with Concertmaster Margaret Batjer leading a performance of Beethoven’s Serioso String Quartet in F Minor, delicately arranged for string ensemble by Mahler. Cinematographer Michael Elias Thomas is once again filming from within the orchestra, giving the audience a feeling of being on stage. Friday, April 9, 6:30pm; free; laco.org.
Saturday, April 10
mash at SoLA Contemporary. An architecture-inspired collection curated by artist Mark Steven Greenfield that draws on design elements from the Middle East — a region of the world often portrayed through a reductive or biased lens. mash thoughtfully challenges mainstream stereotypes portraying Arabesque architecture as a gateway to sacred spaces and spiritual experiences. “The artists [Dina Abdulkarim, Doris Bittar, and Joyce Dallal] all have a decidedly contemporary take on design motifs associated with the Middle East — infusing their work with a respect for tradition, while at the same time pressing against its long-held boundaries,” says Greenfield. SoLA, 3718 W. Slauson Ave., South L.A.; opening day, Saturday, April 10, noon-7pm; on view through May 22; artists’ talk, Saturday, April 24; free; solacontemporary.org.
Sanctuary of the Aftermath at Angel’s Gate. Curated by artists Jason Jenn and Vojislav Radovanović, Sanctuary of the Aftermath investigates how art can create new channels for connection, even during prolonged periods of physical separation. Site-specific installation art, video art, and auditory art are highlighted within an immersive atmosphere. During a time of intense socio-political injustice, environmental disaster, rapid technological changes, prolonged physical isolation and anxiety, art can be a remedy. Artists include Nica Aquino, Joseph Carrillo, Jeff Frost, Anita Getzler, David Hollen, Jason Jenn, Ibuki Kuramochi, Rosalyn Myles, Vojislav Radovanović, Alison Ragguette, and Kayla Tange. Virtual opening: Saturday, April 10, 2-3:30pm; appointment viewing on site TBA; free; angelsgateart.org.
It’s Negative at MIM Gallery. Curated by Labkhand Olfatmanesh, the photographers in this exhibition forge negative pathways to beautiful realities and difficult truths. Tooraj Khamenehzadeh and Alex Turner create spectral images of political and cultural borderlands; Tarrah Krajnak and Rafael Soldi wrest memory and counter-histories from forgotten and suppressed archives; Odette England and Jonas Yip explore family images as sites of remembrance and projection; and Tomiko Jones and Aline Smithson use historical processes to renew our perception of people and places. MIM Gallery, 4654 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; opening reception: Saturday, April 10, 2-6pm; artists talk: Saturday, April 24; on view through May 29; free; mim.gallery.
Charles Phoenix: Catalinaland. Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, sweeps us away on a time travel adventure exploring the island’s classic landmarks, legends and lore. With his trademark enthusiasm and spectacular collection of images, Charles shares the stories and glories of the S.S. Avalon, glass bottom boats, flying fish, bird parks, Catalina Pottery, vintage graphics, souvenirs, the Wrigley family, the mysterious Catalina-shaped swimming pool, iconic 1929 Casino, and much more. Charles also shares his guide to shopping, dining, hidden treasures, time warps, and what not to miss as you discover Catalina again or for the first time. Catalina Island Museum; premieres Saturday, April 10, 6pm; $25; catalinamuseum.org.
Theater: From Number to Name at East West Players. What is incarceration? What is freedom? What is forgiveness? Witness the culminating production of a writing and performance process exploring incarceration, undoing prison politics, and restorative justice in Asian Pacific Islander Communities. Laugh, cry and listen as this ensemble of performers share real stories from life on the inside while re-imagining the future of the criminal justice system and freedom for our communities. Directed and devised by Kristina Wong featuring the formerly incarcerated members of API RISE, their families and supporters. Live-streaming Saturday, April 10, 7pm & Sunday, April 11, 2pm; pay what you can; eastwestplayers.org.
Outdoor Exhibition: LUMINEX at South Park. LUMINEX is an outdoor digital public art exhibition situated in the heart of DTLA for one night only. Curated by Carmen Zella of NOW Art, the installation showcases Refik Anadol, Nancy Baker Cahill, Sarah Rara, Carole Kim, Luciana Abait and Akiko Yamashita. Designed as a site-specific video art collaboration, LUMINEX unfolds across six walls within walking distance of one another. Each artist will transform their site, using light projection, video and sound. Some installations will include live performances, augmented reality, multi-channel video art, and immersive experiences. A live-stream from the sites will begin at 8pm for those watching from home. Downtown L.A.; Saturday, April 10, 7:30-11:30pm; free; luminexla.com.
Sunday, April 11
Virtual Dance Party: Patrisse Cullors: F*ck White Supremacy Let’s Get Free at the Hammer. Join in on a worldwide electric slide online with artist Patrisse Cullors and DJ sets by collectives Everyday People streaming live from Elsewhere in New York City, and Cumbiatón in Los Angeles. This program invites everyone around the globe to move together, united by a groove and the freeing act of dancing. The live, online performance includes DJ sets introduced with a conversation between Cullors and Hammer Museum associate curator Erin Christovale. Sunday, April 11, noon-6pm; free; hammer.ucla.edu.
Soundwalk: An Auditory Safari at Griffith Park by L.A. Choral Lab. Soundwalk premieres new musical works written by composers Divya Maus and Jaco Wong, recorded and produced by the singers of the L.A. Choral Lab. The music evolves and adapts to the listener’s location as they move through the park, listening through their own headphones connected to the smartphone app Echoes. Explore Griffith Park’s Old Zoo area and adjacent locations while enjoying the flowing melodies and harmonies of “Rain Cycle” along with the immersive, otherworldly soundscapes of “In Situ.” Opening day: Sunday, April 11, timed arrivals noon-4pm, $25 (includes take-home goodies); thereafter available free at your leisure through May 16; eventbrite.com/soundwalk-an-auditory-safari.
Nobuo Anzai Homage to a Nomadic Storyteller online at Japan Foundation Los Angeles. Artist Nobuo Anzai (1935-2019) was born in Fukushima, Japan. His lifelong journey began at age of 23 when he departed from his hometown and immigrated to Brazil where he eventually trained to become a sushi chef and opened his first restaurant in São Paulo. Over the next four decades, he immigrated to Colombia, Spain, and then Los Angeles, connecting with local people and their culture through food and paintings. His unique ability to observe things around him with a keen eye and vibrant sense of color captured the lives of everyday people and depicted them vividly in his numerous works. Online now through June 18; free; jflalc.org.
The Billboard Creative. Now in its seventh iteration, The Billboard Creative presents a new exhibition that features the work of 30 emerging and established artists on 30 billboards across Los Angeles. TBC turns billboard advertising spaces into open-air art exhibitions for all Angelenos. The exhibited works are selected through a curated submission process open to all, and this year features special guest artists Ramiro Gomez, Calida Rawles, Narsiso Martinez, and Phung Huynh. On view through April 30; interactive map available at thebillboardcreative.com.
Reimagine Public Art by DCA. Over the past year, our lives have been reconstructed. In the space of weeks, we drastically altered the ways we interact with each other and how we consume art. The screen on our devices has become a window into areas we used to inhabit physically. Strategically placed on our coffee tables, a desk, or just held in our hand, we collectively recreated public spaces to share a semblance of human connection. Reimagine Public Art introduces a compelling lineup of artists working across all mediums to give us a glimpse of what hybrid forms public art might take once the city reopens and Angelenos begin to alternate their interactions with each other between virtual and physical public. Online now, more content is added regularly; culturela.org/reimagine.